Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Monday, August 16, 2004

'Cause, You Know, It Worked so Well Last Time...

A group of Christian fundamentalists want South Carolina to secede. Good plan, guys. Interestingly, this is not the first time I've heard such an idea. Rumor has it, the Libertarian Party wants to take over a small state (like New Hampshire) and turn it Libertarian. I don't think secession is on their game plan just yet. What if every state basically catered to a narrow group of interests with little or no ties to the nation at large? Oh, right, we'd need some Articles of Confederation to keep things running, but other than that?

"We have to look at the great mission posed to us by Jesus Christ: Go as a disciple to nations," [Exodus founder Cory Burnell] said. 'We want to go into the rest of the world.'"

Christ taught that individuals are to go into the world. I don't remember Him saying anything about governments doing it. The same biblical passage alluded to (Mark 16:15-18) says that believers are to be baptized. Does that mean nations are to baptize? "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, and South Carolina..." Indeed, a fairly strong argument can be made that by creating a new nation, you are doing the exact opposite of going as a disciple to the nations. One idea suggests radiating outwards. The other suggests a gathering inwards.

But I suspect that the South Carolina experiment (which won't happen) would fail for basically the same reason we can't simply have 50 states catering to 50 carefully refined ideologies. Just as there are more than 50 ideologies, there is more than one idea of what constitutes "Christianity." Is it Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant? Do Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses count? Assuming we agree on Protestantism, are we talking Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, Methodism, Episcopalianism?

These are not merely academic questions, to be brushed aside by saying "it's all Christianity," because part of Exodus' plan is to teach Christianity in schools. This automatically creates a very practical problem - what, specifically, will be taught? Is Arminianism to be favored over Calvinism? Are the teachers preterists? Moderate preterists? Do they practice baptism by immersion or by sprinkling?

It is easy enough to propose creating a new nation based on Christianity, but "Christianity" is a very ill-defined word.